Nuclear Science


CASL-Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors


The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) is the first DOE Energy Innovation Hub. It was established in July 2010, to provide advanced modeling and simulation (M&S) solutions for commercial nuclear reactors. CASL is a consortium that consists of ten core partners and numerous contributing members. The consortium connects fundamental research and technology development through an integrated partnership of government, academia, and industry that extends across the nuclear energy enterprise. The CASL partner institutions possess interdisciplinary expertise necessary to apply existing M&S capabilities to real-world reactor design issues and develop new system-focused capabilities that will provide the foundation for advances in nuclear energy technology. CASL has been designed to promote collaboration and synergy among the partner institutions, taking advantage of the breadth and depth of their expertise and capitalizing on their shared focus and vision for developing solutions for the future of nuclear energy.

CASL applies existing M&S capabilities and develops advanced capabilities to create a usable environment for predictive simulation of light water reactors (LWRs). This environment, designated the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications (VERA), incorporates: science-based models; state-of-the-art numerical methods; modern computational science and engineering practices; and uncertainty quantification (UQ) and validation against data from operating pressurized water reactors, single-effect experiments, and integral tests. With VERA as its vehicle, CASL develops and applies models, methods, data, and understanding while addressing critical areas of performance for nuclear power plants (NPPs):

  • reducing capital and operating costs per unit of energy by enabling power uprates and lifetime extension for existing NPPs
  • increasing the rated powers and lifetimes of new Generation III+ NPPs
  • reducing nuclear waste volume generated by enabling higher fuel burn-up
  • enhancing nuclear safety by enabling high-fidelity predictive capability for component performance through the onset of failure.

The CASL vision is to predict, with confidence, the performance of nuclear reactors through comprehensive, science-based modeling and simulation technology that is deployed and applied broadly throughout the nuclear energy industry to enhance safety, reliability, and economics. To achieve this vision, CASL’s mission is to provide coupled, high fidelity, usable capabilities needed to address light water reactor operational and safety performance-defining phenomena associated with nuclear fuel and the reactor vessel and internals. Four strategic goals focus CASL in completing its mission and realizing its vision:

  • develop and effectively apply modern virtual reactor technology
  • address design, operational and safety challenges for LWRs
  • engage the nuclear energy community through modeling and simulation
  • deploy new partnership and collaboration paradigms. CASL employs a set of key and interdependent strategic plans, or roadmaps, to attain its goals.

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